Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

VOTF and the Papal Visit

Too little, too late? Too focused on global issues? Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea writes in the National Catholic Reporter that the Pope's messages on clergy sex abuse were "painfully mixed." 

Pope says bishops who covered up sex crimes are guilty too;  VOTF quoted in a Newsday (Long Island) story and a Newsday roundup

Pope Francis meets with survivors on last day in U.S.

Transcript of Pope's remarks to five survivors

Photos from Philadelphia

The CNN tent where Mark waited for his phone interview ... cancelled when the Pope's speech ran too long. Or as Larry Mulligan says: "The delay meant we overstayed our Homeland Security welcome!"

The ever-gracious Marita Green of Philadelphia, who hosted Mark Mullaney and Larry Mulligan in Philadelphia, shown with Larry resplendent in his tourist fashion.

The Cathedral of the Holy Family and the prayer strips that adorned it in anticipation of the papal visit.

Waiting to get onto the Parkway to see the Pope

Larry's version of "Where's Waldo?" is Where's Mark? 

VOTF's invitation to the Pope is cited in The Boston Globe article featuring our Healing Circles

Transcript of Pope's speech on religious freedom, Philadelphia, Sept. 26

Impressions from the Prayer Service at Ground Zero, Sept. 25

Sister Christine Schenk of the VOTF Advisory Board, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and past Director of FutureChurch, had these thoughts while watching the Interfaith Prayer Service at Ground Zero today:

The girls in the Ground Zero prayer choir all wore stoles; the boys not! So cool, and it can't have been accidental. The 911 Memorial was very lovely to watch. [But] when every faith except Judaism and Christianity had gender balance in their representation--very sad.

Gender Balance: Sikh, Buddhist, Muslim -- woman translated male prayer; woman prayed in English; and Muslim woman was visibly overcome with emotion for a moment.
2 women --  Hindu --  Om Shanti
Only Judaeo Christian representatives -- Rabbi, Orthodox (read the beatitudes) and Protestant -- had no female presence -- 2 men

Sept. 25: Transcript of U.N. speech (tip: must scroll down lots to see entire speech)

VOTF reception in Philadelphia, Sept. 24

Mark Mullaney (president) and Larry Mulligan (trustee) attended a reception hosted by the Greater Philadelphia VOTF affiliate at the home of Bud Bretschneider. The reception included those attending the World Meeting of Families, and those gathering in ancticipation of the Pope's visit there. Here are the notes (and some photos) Mark sent.

"We met in Germantown at Bud's house, which is a stately 18th-century home. We met with about 30 people both from Philadelphia and from all over, including those here for the family event in Philadelphia like Susan Vogt and Sister Maureen Turlish.

"I gave a presentation regarding where Voice of the Faithful is today, highlighting our major initiatives. Again, the one with great resonation was Restorative Justice Healing Circles. Some are particulary enthusiastic about moving forward on this effort. At the end of our meeting, of course, I did what all good presidents should do: I asked for money to support these initiatives! 

"Tomorrow we will reach out to media contacts and explore the possibility of attending at least one of the Pope's meetings -- access is tightly controlled." -- Mark and Larry

Sept. 24: Hearing the Pope Speak to Congress -- by Margaret Roylance

I was really moved during Pope Francis's speech. I loved his mention of the witness of four Americans, includIng Dorothy Day, although the text on the jumbo screen said Donald Day (lucky it didn't say Donald Duck!). When he said we are not afraid of foreigners because we are a country of immigrants I cried. He so clearly spoke what he truly believed, not what we wanted to hear. That seems to be all we hear from our political leaders.

Pope Francis was appealing to our best selves, asking us to come together to solve problems while still acknowledging how hard that is to do. And he got a standing ovation with the golden rule! If we want opportunity, we should give opportunity and history will measure us with that yardstick. I think I will be a better Christian and a better citizen of the U.S. If I can follow his advice. 

Sept. 24: On the Capitol's west lawn, watching Pope's address to Congress -- Margaret & David Roylance

Transcript Pope's speech to U.S. Congress

Transcript Pope's speech to U.S. Bishops

Reactions from Pope's speech to bishops

Bill Casey, key leader in our Healing Circles work, is quoted in the Washington Post coverage of the speech to the bishops Sept. 23. Bill, along with other survivor supporters, found it odd that Pope Francis said so little about the clergy abuse and seemed to worry more about the bishops' feelings than the survivors: 

“It’s encouraging that he recognizes [the abuse], but it sounds like it is all aimed at the bishops themselves rather than
the survivors,” said Bill Casey, who advocates for survivors with Voice of the Faithful. “If that’s all he says, I think that would be disappointing.” 

Here's a link to the rest of the Post's coverage.

Final thoughts on the Papal Mass from Mary Pat Fox:

We were blessed with a beautiful day. We started out at 11:15 am in the morning for the 4:15 pm Mass via the Metro. We timed it so that we would miss the parade crowd and it worked: the metro was empty.

We got to Catholic University by noon. The next leg of the journey was not as smooth for me at least. There were four entrances and mine was the farthest from the Metro, which meant about a two-mile walk through neighborhoods and the surrounding colleges of St. Paul and Trinity. I passed the green and yellow lines on my way to my puple entrance. The yellow and green lines were long but very orderly. The purple lines, where I was headed, not so much! There was no line, just a throng of people moving slowly toward the metal detectors and TSA agents. Once I got to the metal detector, it was smooth sailing. Once inside the gate I made it to my seat and was seated at 3:30 pm. Sitting behind me was the Curator Archivist of the Basilica so she kept me informed about the inner workings. It was great!

The Pope surprised everyone by riding in the Popemobile around the grounds of the Mass, providing everyone in the back of the viewing area a chance to see him up close. It was a very thoughtful move which was not planned because he then had to turn around and come back the same way since those roads were all blocked.

Everyone respected the solemnity of the Mass. The crowd was really amazing. The students were in one big standing section and then scattered throughout as ushers. I was sitting between two nuns from different orders in Baltimore and in the section behind Vice President Biden and the Joint Chiefs.

When Mass was over I hung out for a while to avoid the crush back to the metro. Getting home was easy.  

I opted not to go to the Capitol today because I am a bit exhausted but Margaret and David Roylance are there.

Sept. 23: Hard to see, but that's the Pope -- from Mary Pat Fox

Sept. 23: The Mass begins -- from Mary Pat Fox in front of the National Shrine

From Mary Pat Fox in Washington: "It took 3 hours to get into the [National Shrine] area once we got off the metro. Everyone civil. Now inside and everyone is joyful, the wait a distant memory. Listening to a choir."

Waiting in line

Everyone arriving

From my seat awaiting the start of the outdoor Mass:

 

Getting to D.C.: Trustee Margaret Roylance and her sister told a Fox news reporter they secured West lawn tickets to "be there" for the events.

Awaiting the Pope: Trustee Dave O'Brien in New York welcomed the Pope via a letter to the editor in the New York Times, while Sister Maureen Turlish spoke during a radio interview on WHYY in Philadephia (print version).